I had no idea what I was getting into when we picked Belize as our next family vacation spot. How was I to know that it involved chumming the ocean and then throwing my wife and kid out to swim with the sharks? Was there some way to predict the 100F temperatures in the jungle?
Well, yeah, okay, maybe.
We chose Belize because it was safe and it met one very important criteria. The ticket prices happened to be exactly the right amount to spend the vouchers we got from Delta last year. That meant free flights, and free flights are THE BEST FLIGHTS.
Even if there isn’t great legroom sometimes.
Don’t tell the internet, but I’m about to express an opinion.
Belize was BY FAR the best vacation I’ve ever taken my family on.
The food was excellent. The people were AMAZING and FRIENDLY. The jungle was SO NOISY! My kids didn’t complain about the long flights, or bumpy roads, or crazy hot temps (ok, they complained a little about the temp, but not too bad.) In all, Belize was a powerful experience and I hope to replicate it with future travel.
Here are seven things you might want to know if you decide to visit Belize:
- Visit the jungle THEN the ocean. My policy is always to go from lesser accommodations to luxurious. Ambergris Caye isn’t the fanciest place you’ll ever go, but the temps are far more reasonable and there’s AC.
- BUT DEFINITELY VISIT THE JUNGLE. Caracol is an impressive Mayan pyramid, and they let you climb all the way to the top. It’s fantastic, and it’s the tallest man-made structure in Belize. The food at Table Rock was all local and excellent, and I would for sure recommend canoeing on the rivers and swimming under the waterfalls at Rio on Pools.
- You can just order ‘a beer’. Anywhere. They all drink Belikin beer, which is a perfect beer for the hot weather.
- If a tour guide offers you a ‘Belizean Massage’ don’t worry, it’s not a weird sex thing. They’re just talking about Belize’s TERRIBLE ROADS. There’s a special technique they use to drive on the pitted gravel. It involves swerving back and forth to try to hit the least horrible sections of dirt.
- In San Pedro, FOR SURE rent a golf cart at least once. It’s all the fun of driving in a third world country, but it’s a golf cart, so what the hell. Way less stress. Also, driving the 45 minutes north to the Secret Beach (not really a secret) is a great way to get a Belizean massage.
- Get ready to hear about some Guatemalan politics. All of our tour guides had some strong opinions on Guatemala. Based on their opinions and the armed escort we had to get to Caracol, which is on the border, I’d say it’s probably a pretty important topic.
- Rice and Beans is not the same thing as Beans and Rice. Yeah, the ingredients are similar, but beans and rice is made with the parts separate. Maybe some chicken. Rice and beans is made with everything mixed together. It’s all good, though.
On the way home, Delta was still recovering from the massive storms that scrambled Atlanta on the 5th. But we made it! In reasonable time, even. To compensate us for the mild inconvenience of a crazy travel day, Delta gave us $200 more dollars each. Now we just need to figure out where to go with that money.